As connected homes become smarter and as smart speakers become more popular, homeowners find that these new IoT technologies can replace an increasing number of now-antiquated solutions in their living space, including white noise machines. Smart speakers such as the Google Home and Amazon Echo offer built-in white noise functionalities of sorts, and in true "smart" fashion, these capabilities are just a few keywords away from being enabled. Nevertheless, Google and Amazon have slightly different approaches toward the white noise functionality, so here's a quick rundown for owners of the Home or Echo smart speakers wanting to take advantage of it.
Google customers can easily activate the white noise functionality on a Home smart speaker as well as on Android smartphones featuring the Google Assistant by using the keywords "help me relax" or "play white noise." Alternatively, users who want to have more control over the type of noise that's being played by the smart speaker can ask Google to play from a wide variety of sounds using the phrase "Hey Google, play" followed by terms such as "Nature," "Relaxing," "Outdoor," "Forest," "Fireplace," and "Water," just to name a few. The only downside to Google Home's solution is that these audio tracks last for only about an hour each, but on the flip side, users can always find and acquire their own favorite white noise tracks and play them through the speaker. On the other hand, Amazon Echo owners can search through the Prime Music library for white noise options and can ask Alexa to play these tracks by issuing voice commands such as "Alexa, play Amazon Two Hour Midnight Thunderstorm" through the subscription service. Furthermore, Amazon Echo owners can also rely on third-party skills if they so desire, such as the Sleep Sounds: White Noise skill downloadable from Amazon.com which includes a wide variety of ambient sounds ranging from wind chimes to rain sounds and a box fan.
For prospective smart speaker buyers wanting to add these technologies to their homes, the Google Home smart speaker is currently available for $99, the Google Home Mini carries a discounted price of $39, and the larger Google Home Max has a launch price of $399. In the opposite camp, the Amazon Echo can now be acquired for $84, the Amazon Echo Dot for $39, and lastly, the Echo Plus is available for $149. The company also has a couple of screen-enabled solutions in the form of the Echo Spot for $114, as well as the Echo Show which launched for $229 and is currently available for $179.